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Dorgan supports 'Pickens plan'.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) says he plans to introduce legislation early next year calling for the creation of a "nationwide electric transmission super highway." Dorgan, a member of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, says he supports the plan put forth by oilman and wind energy developer T. Boone Pickens for establishing a national transmission grid to move growing wind and solar energy from remote regions of the country to population centers.

"I agree with Mr. Pickens that our country is facing an energy crisis, and we can't be taking baby steps to solve it," Dorgan said. Pickens joined the senator in a news conference to discuss the planned legislation.

Dorgan had no cost estimate for a nationwide transmission network or how it would be funded. Pickens said he's heard estimates around $70 billion, an amount he said he considers small in relation to the billions of dollars the US pays annually for imported oil.

The so-called "Pickens Plan" aims to cut the country's dependence on foreign oil by putting up wind turbines to replace power produced from natural gas. That would leave more natural gas to power vehicles that now use gasoline and diesel.

Pickens' plan also calls for replacing about one-third of US oil imports within 10 years by developing more wind power that can substitute the nation's growing use of natural gas for electricity production.

Pickens said Dorgan is one of several senators backing at least parts of his plan. Pickens did not name the senators he was referring to.

Pickens also said he believes President-elect Obama will have a comprehensive energy plan in place within 100 days of taking office.

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Title Annotation:Byron Dorgan
Publication:The Food & Fiber Letter
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 24, 2008
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